Welcome to the site for all the latest information about Connecticut's dirty little century, roughly 118miles in early September, about half off paved surfaces. Please start by reading The Basics (this is a link) for information about the ride (if current year Basics is not yet available, the previous year will give a general gist).

Rather than answer individual questions repeatedly, please address questions as "comments" to the MOST RECENT post and I will answer in a blog posting for all to see.

Monday, April 30, 2012

It happened...again!

Thanks to Joe for the pictures in this posting

2012 and another Detour de Connecticut for the books, under what may have been absolutely perfect conditions.  I want to thank everyone who came out to ride with me--that's the whole reason.  Also, special thanks to Brendan for his help in scouting & cutting branches, Art for GPS assistance, Andy from NY for more .gpx assistance, and let's all give a huge thank you to Glen for the absolutely stellar feed stop with fresh muffins out in Hampton.  Hip, hip, hooray!

We even managed to convince a born & bred Vermonter 
that CT can be a pretty nice place.

Moving forward, I'm going to take Todd's sage advice and shoot for consistency (my apologies to anyone who was stymied by the date changes).  Let's plan to do it again next year on the last Saturday in April, with a Sunday rain date.  I may make one or two small tweeks to the route, but I'm pleased with how it rides now, so the loop should remain largely untouched--time to start working on something different for a fall ride....

2012's Detour de Connecticut came...
...and went.
Hope you were there.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Tomorrow!

Weather looks nearly perfect for a long ride tomorrow, so it's a go, Saturday for the 2012 Detour de Connecticut.  Woohoo!

High for tomorrow's forecast is the upper 50s, which is good.  Some have asked why such an early date for a long ride, and the answer is: water.  There are some long sections of this loop without support beyond what you carry with you, so water would be a tremendous issue in hot, summer weather.  That said, there are a few places along (or just off ) the route for filling bottles.

1) On the first run into Willimantic, there is a supermarket across rt32 from where we enter the cemetery.  If you want to top off, get food, this is possibly the last option before returning in Willimantic later in the ride.  Personally, I don't expect to stop here.
2) #58 Old Kings Highway in Hampton (either in front of house or red barn on opposite side of street).  A kind soul and fellow rider will be leaving a cooler of water out by the road for us.  Unfortunately, Glen will be working and can't join us, but if you stop into Scott's Cyclery in Willimantic, be sure to give him a thank you.
3) On the 2nd trip into Willimantic, there is natural spring on the right side of the road just after exiting the park onto rt66 (see cues between maps 7/8).
(Pictures of the spring can be found HERE.  Ignore the written notes, however; they were for last year)
4) About midway through the cue between maps 8/9, the route crosses Main Street in East Hampton, CT.  If you head about a block south (left) on Main, there is a public library on the left.  Be aware, however, they close at 5pm on Saturday, so this could possibly be a miss for some.  Heading the opposite direction (north) on Main about 3/4 mile, there is another supermarket on the right, just after crossing rt66 at a traffic light.

As for the start, I plan to roll out at 8am sharp.  Also, I'm aiming for arriving there about 7:40am to answer any last questions, sign autographs, kiss babies, etc.  I'll be the guy on a dark green bike, with green plastic water bottle cages, a green helmet, and a not-green beard.  Yes, I do like green, but those are actually all just coincidences.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So here it--or rather, they--are: .gpx files.  First some thanks are due to Andy from NY for putting together the big picture without ever seeing the route, and to Art for loaning me a GPS unit and creating files for me.  Thanks fellow, I WOULDN'T have done it without you.

There are three files here
1) 2012Detour beta: Andy spent a lot of time working on this file and it is really good, but has errors that were unavoidable by someone who hasn't seen the route.  This one covers the full route, but be sure to have the other two files and know when you need to switch to them.
2) 2012Detour Willy east: This is an actual capture from riding the most confusing and off-the-beaten-path sections of the loop.  It starts where the first long section of rail trail ends.
3) 2012Detour end: This is the very end of the loop starting at the intersection of Camp Meeting Road and Finley Street in the southeast of Manchester.  Again, this is an actual ride capture and should help with the twists and turns through Porter Reservoir.
MORE IMPORTANT WARNINGS: I've reviewed these files and they are quite good, but there are bound to still be discrepancies.  The cues and maps in The Basics are still good to have along as a back up and in possible confusing points--remember batteries die, electronics fail, people get lost with GPS all the time, etc, etc.
REMEMBER: This is just a possible route, one I'll be riding.  What you do with it is at your own risk.  Obey all signs.

Ok, you survived all the warnings, disclaimers, and cautions; the files can be found at https://docs.google.com/open?id=0By8yG6qk2sszNXFXdGJXcVVibEk  Yes, I intentionally didn't create a link so you'd have to read through the post to find them.  And finally, as a (admittedly slightly less each day) confirmed Luddite, did I mention: "You kids with your wiz-bang electronics, GET OFF MY LAWN!!!  My feet hurt.  Grumble, grumble...."

Updates and other ramblings

First and foremost, as of noon on Thursday 4/26/2012, I have added further clarification to the cued instructions for the sections between maps2/3 and maps 4/5.  If you had printed the instructions prior to that time, review those sections in The Basics for changes.  Note, the course has not changed, but hopefully these added details will avoid some uncertainty out in the woods.

Furthermore, the 2nd of these two section between maps 4/5 is the crossing of the Mohegan State Forest.  While *most* of this crossing involves following the most worn path, it is also the longest section away from "civilization" and may have little or no cell phone coverage (this aspect is also true of other sections of the route--cell phone is NOT an adequate bail out plan for this ride!!!).  If you don't have an excellent sense of direction, a compass would be good, light insurance to have along for certainty you don't wind up lost and circling.  Cycling good, circling bad.

Also, regarding time for the ride, my early estimate of 9 hours being a fastest time and longer being likely for most seems accurate.  I recommend that everyone have some lights and reflectors as sunset is at 7:45 Saturday, just 11 3/4hrs after the start--things can go wrong; you may be delayed.

Lastly, hopefully by the end of the day I will be posting some .gpx files.  Yes files, you will have to an estimated full route file (which has inaccuracies) with two other sections files that are actual captures of riding the route.  More or less, even with gps, you will want the instructions and Google maps along for the ride.

And finally, lastly, I will still make the final call on rain delay by noon on Friday, but right now Saturday is looking like a go.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Less than a week to go

Right now the weather forecast looks good for Saturday with temps in the upper 50s and partly cloudy, but that's a pretty long range prediction considering recent successes in figuring out this new climate of ours.  Final decision on exercising the Sunday rain date option will be posted by noon on Friday.  Either way, the rain of yesterday should help firm up some sections that were dry to the point of being powdery.

My hope is to get out Wednesday with a borrowed GPS unit (thank you, Art) and ride the first (and most confusing) portion of the loop.  If all goes as planned, I'll have an accurate .gpx file to post here, although for the full loop, you may need to splice a few separate files.  Regardless, the maps and cues will be good to have along on ride date.

Also, after Wednesday, I hope to have a better estimate of how long the ride will take.  Last year, on both a slightly shorter and less rough course, the first two riders finished in a few ticks over 8 hours.  I'm guessing breaking 9 hours this year will be a serious accomplishment, so be prepared: food, clothing, and LIGHTS, as well as an exit strategy should you need to cut the ride short.

Lastly, a few people have asked about a shorter version of the ride, and I had hoped to introduce a "Wee Tour de Connecticut," but alas I don't think I can make a proper job of it for this year, so there won't be anything detailed posted to those ends, but anyone should feel free to jump in for as much of the ride as they like.

Monday, April 2, 2012

If you come, they will build it.

In what could only be a response to last year's Detour de Connecticut, the powers-that-be have come through for this years event with a new bridge spanning the gap of Rt316 on the Hop River rail trail. They made the effort; now it's up to you.

Not just any ride commands this kind of infrastructure.
(Note: crowds already amassing to see this year's Detour roll through town)
Thanks to Tony C for the photo.